Let’s talk about Resilience

Last Friday we had our first call for this month’s Practice & Learn group.

In our opening meditation I asked the group to bring the monthly theme into their awareness. This month that theme is RESILIENCE.

I’ll invite you to do that for a moment with me now …

Close your eyes and take a few natural breaths. When you feel ready, bring the word “RESILIENCE” into your awareness.

What do you notice?

Does your body respond?

Your mind?

Take another couple of breaths, allowing the word “RESILIENCE” to communicate with you (I know that may sound odd, see what happens …). Allow yourself to be surprised if something new or unexpected surfaces. Or perhaps it is something all too familiar …

Why do I do this?

Well, language is powerful and our body responds to words we hear. All. The. Time.

In our modern world we have so many imprints every day and words are a potent one. And we create meanings and narratives from there, often without even realizingt it. So it’s important to bring this into our awareness.

Additionally, I want to invite personal experience to our group space right away so we can bring these qualities to life in real time and invite a connection below the thinking mind that tries to “get the right answer.”

Psychologically, resilience has meanings related to adaptability and overcoming trauma and difficulties. A quick Google search reveals definitions such as “the ability to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

In our group the word brought up a felt sense of exhaustion, hard work, and heaviness. I feel that too when I hear words like “withstand” or “toughness.”

Black women and femmes, who are often called “strong” and “resilient,” speak about this often. The heavy burden that these words place upon them. We have an opportunity not to uphold that burden or a limited view of what a resilient person is like.

From a somatic, body based, orientation resilience is about cultivating aliveness and vitality; it’s essentially a process of recovering these states and our fully expressed, gorgeously unique human selves so we can respond to what life brings rather than react to it. Living in chronic reactive states, or trauma responses, depletes our energy and can even make us sick over time. Hello, heaviness.

In Somatic Experiencing®, created by Peter Levine, the fact that we are here right now, alive in a body, means that we have survived all that has come before this moment. And that survival comes along with an inherent healing that we can access to cultivate resilience and help the nervous system heal.

This is great news! That no matter how much has occurred, as we work with the body we can open more access to the vitality and life force that somatic resilience brings.

For me, it’s really the entire point of working with the body and the nervous system to heal … to bring our full expression and humanity online and available to us so that we can live with more purpose, inspired action, and open hearts … and so we can respond to our lives.

When we are resilient, it does not mean we never experience pain or difficulty. It’s quite the opposite actually, it means that we have internal resources and can be with it in new ways that allow us a greater capacity. We have more bandwidth to seek support, to connect with ourselves and others, and to improve our health and well-being.

It’s vital really.

And before we go, it may be nice to pause and connect back with that initial meditation … how do you experience resilience now that we’ve talked a bit more about it?